Paris, 24 June 1998
On 19 December 1997, Paris TV Câble and Lyonnaise Communications called upon the French Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ART) to settle disputes that had arisen between themselves and France Télécom concerning the provision of telecommunications services (mainly the telephone service) over the Paris cable TV network and other cable TV networks.
The Telecommunications Act of 26 July 1996 makes provision for the offer of telecommunications services over cable TV networks, and ART sets out the technical conditions and prices to be applied for the provision of these services, on the basis of this law.
After applying the same analysis to both cases, ART issued its decisions, setting out a fair and effective solution to the disputes.
The decisions ensure that the fees levied on Paris TV Câble and Lyonnaise Communications by France Télécom for the use of capacity on the cable networks are fair.
They also guarantee that the course of action chosen by ART is implemented effectively, by clearly stating which party is responsible for undertaking each of the four fundamental tasks:
- Content of the decisions
1. As network owner, France Télécom has been designated project manager.
2. A detailed timetable and procedure have been set out for upgrading the cable TV network. Work by France Télécom should be completed by a date after 1st October 1999, which will be set by Paris TV Câble and Lyonnaise Communications. However, if it becomes apparent that France Télécom will not be capable of conducting and completing the work by this date and under the given conditions, ART may intervene and appoint Paris TV Câble or Lyonnaise Communications to manage the project.
3. Paris TV Câble and Lyonnaise Communications will provide the funding needed for this work.
France Télécom will make the capacity required for the provision of the telephone service
(15 MHz duplex) available to Paris TV Câble and Lyonnaise Communications, on the coaxial part of the networks. Paris TV Câble and Lyonnaise Communications will pay France Télécom an annual fee for this service, calculated on the basis of various parameters, including the cost of the household base passed by the cable, evaluated at 1700 French francs or 12 French francs per household per year.
- Implementing the decisions
The parties must amend their contracts to bring them into conformity with these decisions by 31 October 1998.
- Fostering competition
In two decisions issued on 10 July 1997, which resolved disputes concerning the provision of Internet access services over the cable network, ART stated:
"ART strongly recommends that the parties find a way of simplifying the current situation, to enhance the deployment of cable TV networks and improve their profitability, as difficulties are arising due to overlapping responsibilities and the complexity of the present framework."
One year later, it had become apparent that difficulties had arisen, particularly in implementing these two decisions. ART therefore invites the parties to negotiate the common ownership and commercial operation of the cable TV networks, to favour the development of competition.